The Trifecta of Therapy

It is done.  The Trifecta in the big therapists office in the sky is complete.  Donald Eric Arvidson passed away on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

I got my period at age 12.  In the spring.  That summer, something changed.  I morphed into a depressed, sullen kid who had trouble with the simplest things.  I told my mom, “Something’s wrong with me.  I think I need help.”  She never looked up from her computer work, “You’re fine.  There’s nothing wrong with you.”  That fall, I tried a feeble suicide attempt because, oh I don’t know- I was stealing my parents wine, drinking it on the bus to school, and taking very long hall passes while sneaking pulls of wine that I had stashed in my leather jacket sleeve in my locker during class.  The police came, the ambulance came, they heard it on the very small town police scanner.  So, the next day at school, thank God, more people were concerned with treating me with kindness and compassion more than scorn.

So, I, naturally, started to see Mrs. Chrichton, the school’s best counselor.  I’d get a hall pass to go see her and I would go down and try to talk to her.  Hmm, no wonder I can’t sleep.  High winds and today was Don’s memorial.  I digress.  Mrs. Chricton could relate to me.  She was a wonderful, tough, and loving woman, who, ultimately, recommended me to Don.

I was terrified.  I’m going to see a shrink?  I’m 14! I must really be screwed up!  So, I go to Rochester.  And I met, ugh, a man of smallish stature, blonde hair, blue eyes and a great smile.  But I loved his smile, his openness, and his matter of fact, nonchalance.  He also dismissed my parental unit.  It was love at first session.

I came to know Don through his office changes, his relationship changes and my life teenage changes.  I told him about the drinking.  He introduced me to Nathaniel Branden- Romantic Love- and that not only did my secret, greasy heart desire it, it required and deserved some romantic love.  He thought I might be Bipolar, but was hesitant to label me at such a tender age, so he sent me to Bette.

Enter Bette.  I met her at her office in Birmingham.  She laid out the MMPI for me.  A week later, in her electric blue suit with leopard print go go boots, she gave me the results of my test.  And I quote: “You see this peak right here?  The one that goes off the page?  That’s PTSD.”  What’s that, I asked, horrified.  “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  You have the stress of a Vietnam Vet in a POW camp.  It was something that happened to you at a young age.  Figure it out.  This second peak?  The one that almost goes off the page, but not as bad as the PTSD?  That’s addictive personality.  If it’s addictable, you’ll become addicted to it, so stay away from it.  Oh yeah, and you’re bipolar.”  She then turned on her heeled leopard print ankle booties, blonde, coiffed mane held high, and probably went to catch a nooner with Albert Ellis.  No shit.  She fucked REBT man.  That’s what a bad ass Bette was.  Don knew how much I idolized her, and on one of my visits to him, he gave me some of her books, mixed in with some of his.  As soon as I returned home, the books went on the shelf, and have not left.

Mrs. Chricton passed from Breast cancer in the early double odds.  Bette passed somewhere in between, and now Don.

I’d known Don for 20+ years.  He was my father, friend, confidante, mentor and teacher.  He taught me the value of loving kindness for not only yourself, but your fellow man, compassion, boundaries, that it was okay to be where you were at- as long as you were authentic about it, and that it was okay to be awkward.  As long as you were authentic about it.  No walls, open heart, big Leo.  Big Grin.  Big hugs.

No one will call me kiddo again.  No one will give me heart to heart, soul to soul hugs.  No more Don.   But he went peacefully, quietly and with dignity and grace.  Tough till the end.  That was our don.  We are going to, and do, miss him very much.

We last spoke in March.  It was the last time we spoke.  I knew it would be the last time I spoke with him ever.  I found a picture of him Saturday.  He was in his usual state- high on Valium.  I tore up the picture.  The one and only photo of Don I had, I didn’t want to remember him high.  I wanted to remember the impish grin, the slitty eyes, the guffaw, the quiet soothing tone of his voice.

The trifecta of therapy is now complete.  Heaven, or the cosmos has gained some great clinicians.  Lucky bastards.  I’d like to end with a Don-ism, or something clever.  But it is what it is.  Don was Buddhist.  Light a stick of incense, not just for ones you have lost, but for life and yours as well.  Nam ay oh ho ring gay quo…






Guess Who? Whom? Who cares…Here we go again!

Yup.  Sheila integrated 7 of her 16 parts from her own sub system.  Now, I’ve got an old part, Vicky, who has a split off part named Veronica.  Apparently, Veronica likes Van Halen, Live from the Tokyo Dome, black nail polish, girly things and is about 16 years old.  She claims that she is the part my first love wanted me to be.  I explained to her that a whole lotta too bad happened to us and that if my love and I had been meant to be, we would have been already.  Sometimes a, “no”, means an even more amazing “yes” is going to occur.  Try telling that to a teenager.

So, I’m guessing from what I’m learning from Veronica and how my interests are changing, a little more rock music, a whole lotta wardrobe changes, and a cleaner environment.  She’s a little anal.  Well, between you, me and the world wide web.

So, all that sleep I got from Sunday morning to yesterday afternoon is gone.  Yes!  Parts work is exhausting.  Putting Humpty Dumpty back together again takes a lot of work.  And time and effort, and, and and…

Yes, I’m pissed a bit.  I spent my time busting ass with Sheila and only got her halfway through and now another one wants to play.  Dammit.  It’s frustrating, this thing called parts work.  You go three steps forward and two steps back.  Some of it can be fun and rewarding, and other times painful and emotionally excruciating.  I have a feeling between VIcky and her part/leaf, Veronica (she hates that), I’m gonna wind up in the hospital again.  I usually come out during or around my birthday.  So don’t like going to the spa.  I hate it.  If I’m not wearing my sequined purple beret, or as my friend coined it: “My couples and backward skaters only” hat, the hospital workers- who, most of them, 95%+ are a fucking mazing people, ask me:  “What’s wrong?”  Um…I’m in the hospital?  Again?  But they know my purple sequined beret, is one of my coping skills.  That and my red lipstick.  Yeah.  See?  It’s not like The Cuckoo”s Nest.  Some places are, but the spa ain’t.

My doc don’t like me to do the trauma track.  He says I get worse.  Well, yeah.  When I’m going over my past with a fine-toothed comb, so I can pull myself together- literally- I fall apart a little bit.  A part, get it, of me doesn’t die, but integrates.  This Tokyo Dome record is like, I’m not sure, David Lee Roth is not like, singing all the words to the songs and now in, “Dance The Night Away”, he’s calling the band, “Chicken Shits”.  Okay.  Weird.  Or?  It could truly be me.  There is a George Bernard Shaw quote which is amazing.  It’s to the effect, if someone knows your weaknesses, and uses them against you (Gaslights you), that is truly the devil’s work.  I hate it when people have done that to me.  Mostly boyfriends.  They knew how sick I was and totally used it against me to their advantage.  Lovers?  Not so much.  But the relationships?  Awful.

My therapist asked me if I had known I had a system.  Nope.  Not till Dr. Ross diagnosed me in 2008.  I was like the Kay Redfield Jamison of DID.  I researched it, presented on it, studied it, read up on it, but never knew I had a system.  My therapist had this like, “How in the fuck could you not know?” look on her face.  I said, “I was raised in the theatre, I’m eccentric, I drank a lot before I got sober, I have three closed head injuries, I thought I had a poor memory and was just extravagant.  I chalked it up to a lot of variables.

I have to stop.  I’m beginning to paint myself into an ugly corner that I don’t want to be in.  It’s time to get er done as well.  Veronica apparently has an internal clock.

Have a great day…wish me luck and energy?